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Achill Island’s magnificent 3km beach at Keel provides one of the finest surf destinations in Ireland. The table below provides the latest surf forecast, while lower down the page we offer advice and tips on surf safety and etiquette.
Surf Board & Wetsuit Hire
Several local businesses offer surf board and wetsuit hire. See our Activities Directory: Surf Board Hire for details.
Surfing Lessons & Tuition
Several local businesses offer surf schools and surfing lessons. See our Activities Directory: Surfing Lessons for details.
Safe Surfing and Surf Etiquette
As surfing is such a fast-growing sport in Ireland, and as many people taking advantage of Achill’s superb Atlantic breakers may be surfing for the first time, we would like to present some tips and advice on surfing safety and etiquette. This information is adapted from a leaflet published by the Irish Surfing Association, who also provide a fuller and more detailed account at their website (read A Surfers Guide to Safety & Etiqutte at www.isasurf.ie).
Firstly, know your environment. The beach at Keel, Achill, contains dangerous rip tides from its centre to the eastern end (under the Minaun Cliffs). Surfing should only take place in the western half of the beach waters. A prominent notice on the beach informs all sea users of the boundary of the dangerous waters. There is an extensive parking area, accessed by road, adjacent to the beach at Keel. A grassy ridge separates the beach from the car parking and offers some degree of privacy for surfers before and after their sessions.
Secondly, please practice good surfing etiquette. The sport has built up a series of informal ‘rules’ to avoid in-water collisions and to ensure that all surfers are able to enjoy the waves. One key convention among surfers is to respect the ‘line up’. The line up is an informal line of surfers awaiting their turn at a break. At Achill the beachbreak is quite long with no clear take off area, but surfers should still respect their fellow enthusiasts and not paddle directly into the area where a surfer is waiting their turn. The convention is that a surfer riding a wave has priority, and surfers paddling out should avoid a collision by heading for the whitewater or wide on the shoulder.